On Family Meditation with Headspace

This post is sponsored by Headspace. Start a daily meditation practice by scrolling to the bottom of the post for a discount code. 

Summer is a powerful time. Magic happens within waves amongst salt water’s healing powers.

As a parent, summer can also sometimes feel like a strange dichotomy of being present in the readily-available peace found in the ocean – while fighting frustration on the days when sibling bickering sets in. According to a recent parenting survey by Momtrends Media, 40% of parents find the summer months to be the most stressful, followed by back-to-school season and the holidays.

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I always welcome opportunities to better myself and when a partnership with the meditation app Headspace came my way it truly felt serendipitous. I tried other meditation programs in the past but eventually couldn’t stick to their many commitments. Headspace was different; within just a few minutes a day, I found myself calmer, more alive, and well aware of the fact that I’m in charge of my responses to the world around me. Headspace never made me feel judged – often reminding me that there is “no good or bad way to meditate”. This app has given me a tool to introduce meditation to my kids (they especially love the animations) with a specific section just for them. We now have a family meditation practice that is beautifully simple to stick with.

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Thanks to Momtrends Media, I had the chance to meet the Headspace team at a lovely lunch event that they hosted in NYC. When I was introduced to co-founder Andy Puddicombe, and voice-of-all-things Headspace, I found myself gushing “but I feel like you’re my friend!” while restraining my arms behind my back before they could unfurl around him in an awkwardly tight hug. If you’re familiar with the app, Andy’s soothing British-accented voice, along with a collection of animations, quotes, and secular, simple meditations – make meditation a part my day that I look forward to and crave.

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Before leading us all in a guided meditation, Andy spoke of his decade of training as a Buddhist Monk. Along with his business partner, Rich Pierson, the duo sought out to improve the health and happiness around the world with the creation of Headspace – the first meditation app on the Market in 2012. Headspace now reaches over 30 million people every year!

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A few things that Andy said really stuck with me:

I love how Andy spoke of mediation as a vehicle to increase compassion, gratitude, and empathy for the world around us. Pulling from his time in the monastery, he spoke of meditation as a means to not just better yourself, but also make a difference in your families and communities while putting something valuable back into the world.

Andy spoke of focusing on the breath to destress. Headspace makes this so simple even for children – with prompts to invite their favorite stuffed animal or toy to join them and rest on their bellies while breathing.

He also asked us to keep a gratitude journal specifically about family. I adore this idea. While we already have a gratitude practice in place in our home – focusing on what I’m grateful for within my children is a beautiful thing.

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As a mother, a person who lives with migraine, and as someone who comes from a public health background – it’s hard to adequately capture how grateful I am to be introduced to something so helpful.  Headspace is wonderful to gift to a friend or family member suffering an acute loss or trauma (there is a grief pack within the brave section) and even coping with cancer and pain management packs within the health session. There are single meditations for things like losing my temper and panicking – along with falling back to sleep, creative writing, difficult conversations, fear of flying and so much more.

I hope you’ll join me in this meditation journey because I want everyone to have headspace! Get 40% of your Headspace subscription for the year (which you’ll need to have full access to the app) with this code:

https://www.headspace.com/buy/checkout/summary?voucherCode=MARINOBAMBINOS

Register and enter the promo code here by July 4th:

Once you log into the app on your phone, it will automatically connect to the subscription you just activated.

Event photos 4-6 via Momtrends. 

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28 Positive Mindset Books For Kids

Self-awareness and self-esteem form at early ages in life and It’s so important for us to help our kids grow to develop an overall positive outlook.  Obstacles and challenges are a natural part of life, and luckily, we’ve been able to turn to children’s books with poignant and powerful messages to help reinforce and shape a healthy response to the world around us.  We created a collection of 28 positive mindset books for kids, with inspiring messages of perseverance, resiliency, and the value of positive self-talk.  From following your dreams – to avoiding negative words, this list of books will help to introduce children to the tools they need to navigate life.

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Unstoppable Me! 10 Ways to Soar Through Life

Dreams Come True…. All They Need is You

The Wonderful Things You Will Be

Incredible You!

I Think, I Am!

No Excuses! How What You Can Say Can Get In Your Way

Good-bye, Bumps! Talking to What’s Bugging You

I Am, Why Two Words Mean So Much

Ish

Beautiful Oops!

The Most Magnificent Thing

The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes

Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun: Having the Courage To Be Who You Are

What Do You Do With a Problem?

The Feel Good Book

What I Like About Me!

Bee Attitude: A Positive Motivational Book for Kids

The Energy Bus

Buddha at Bedtime: Tales of Love and Wisdom for You to Read with Your Child to Enchant, Enlighten and Inspire

Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids

One Love

What a Wonderful World

The Little Engine That Could

Only One You

Sky Color

An Awesome Book of Thanks

The Way I Feel

Did your favorite books for kids make the list? If not, please share them with us in the comments.

Affiliate links included.

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Transgender Kids: Inspirational Stories Of Perseverance

Over the past few years, we have seen stories of transgender children thriving when living in accepting and loving communities where they are allowed to live authentically in their true gender identities.  The social climate continues to warm, and we continue to hear stories of acceptance, love and understanding. However, there is still work that needs to be done.  The below stories highlight the lives of children who didn’t identify with their birth-assigned gender, as well as their supportive parents who have championed change and acceptance in their homes and communities.

Peer-reviewed studies show gender-identity affirmation as protective against major depression and as a crucial factor in emotional well-being among transgender persons.  We applaud the below families for embracing their children for who they are, while standing in the spotlight to help fight for continued social change and acceptance.

Check out Transgender Kids: Inspirational Stories of Perseverance

by Monica Marino at Mode

This post is sponsored by Mode.

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On Keeping Seasonal Magic and The Truth About Santa

We’re among the group of parents that choose to let out kids believe in the sort of magic and childhood whimsy that comes along with believing in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny.  Despite my oldest being bombarded by classmates since Kindergarten (yes KINDERGARTEN!!) that these things aren’t real – we have two believers in our home.

What about your family? Have you thought about the best way to tell your kids the truth about Santa and more?  Luckily, there’s a brilliant tool out there to help navigate this changing childhood terrain in a helpful and empowering way that celebrates this coming of age.

Enter the Society Of Seasonal Secret Keepers, a gift set created by a mother of two to help guide kids while enlisting them as Society Secret Keepers.

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Inside this helpful kit, tucked away in a special zippered bag you’ll find:

  • A personalized welcome letter from the Society of Seasonal Secret Keepers inducting your new agent into an exciting new stage of growth.
  • A heirloom token, inside a velvet bag, inscribed with the Society’s seal and their core values of Empowerment, Agency, Respect, Curiosity, and Integrity.
  • An 80-page book entitled The Society Of Seasonal Secret Keepers Field Guide: Ancient Secrets for Modern Kids.
  • Access to an online Society Mission Control portal to provide seasonal missions and ideas, which keep the field guide fresh and current all year-round.

We have no idea how smoothly this new stage will begin in our family when the time comes – but this is the best resource we’ve found.  We love how the induction into a secret society can make a kid feel cool and empowered with their own specific training manual to help them navigate this new phase.  We think it’s AMAZING that significance is placed on vowing to protect and honor traditions (agents are bound by an oath) while caring magic on for others who believe.  And we think that truths are presented in the best way possible with an emphasis on magic as symbols of love and giving, and a sense of earned responsibility with growing up.

Do your family a favor and order it before you’ll need it.  You’ll thank us later. 🙂

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Midwinter Pause

kids looking out a snowy windowWe had big plans of hopping on the train to local museums and galleries and filling our days with the sort of spontaneous adventure that typically leads an entire week of school vacation.  But the cold was simply too cold, and the kiddos could hardly handle walking to the train during our attempts to explore.  So we spent the majority of our time hunkered down together, and while I honestly prepared for the sort of conflicts anticipated when the kids are cooped up for long periods at a time – I was pleasantly surprised.

The were amazing, actually.

Two kindred, silly spirits, plotting made-up games and running every single wheeled toy, stuffed with animals and buckets of make-believe across the hardwood floors.  Temporary-tattooing their chests and leaving a trail of disaster throughout their tiny sanctuary.  Carefully arranged abandoned toys became vestiges of life frozen in childhood creativity. And during a week of carrying an unexpected heavy heart – I was grateful for all of it.

Inside the snowy windows – all that seemed to matter was the love cocooned between four walls and evidence of an incredibly vibrant life with children.

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Tangible Ties to The Past & Photography Tips for Parents

Thank you Huggies Little Snugglers and Latina Bloggers Connect for sponsoring this post.  Content and opinions, as always, are my own.

It’s amazing how photography has the power to bring us back, even momentarily.  Through images, I can recall my Aunt Nina’s violet perfume.  I can feel my father’s embrace upon returning home from work.  And I’m able to hear my mother murmur “mi amor, mi vida, mi ceilo, mi corazón ” over and over and over again while cradled in her arms.

A photograph can evoke the feeling of pulling my babies up to my chest for the first time.  Vividly recalling those two moments of time being wrapped in the most overwhelming sense of joy.

born a mother every mother counts #Every2

As cliché as it sounds – childhood is indeed fleeting.  So I photograph and document with passion and determination – because these small vignettes with tangible ties to the past have the incredible power of allowing us to revisit what once was.

And relish in the beauty of all that has followed.

I’m by no means a photography expert. I’m simply a mama behind a lens with a creative interest fueled by my loves – and a passion to documenting the everyday in the most organic way possible.  Here are a few of my top photography tips for parents:

  • Parents – Get In Those Photos!  Pregnancy and parenthood come with a whirlwind of change – and sometimes being photographed is not on the agenda. Belly photos turn into incredible pieces of history as little ones grow, as do photographs of those special early days of bonding with baby.

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  •  Capture the details.  Document the natural fetal curl that newborns have during the first two weeks.  Capture the dimples and those sweet napping faces.  Encapsulate the memory of a tiny hand wrapped around your finger.  And don’t forget the sweet feet. How yummy are my nephew’s?

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  • Go Natural.  Capture children as they naturally are while avoiding requests to “look here!” or “say cheese!”.  My favorite photographs of my children were captured by sneaking up on them and acting as a quiet observer.

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  •  Look for clean backgrounds. I’m a big fan of uncluttered backgrounds. A clean, symmetrical background helps to keep the focus on the subjects.

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  • Follow basic photography principles.  Shoot in natural light and learn fundamental concepts like the rule of thirds.  And lastly – throw out my suggestions! Remember that photographs are part of your story.  Please capture however you see fit!

I happen to love those early diaper pics and New! Huggies Little Snugglers Diapers has those early weeks covered with sweet tiny diapers with umbilical cord cut-outs for ultimate comfort and dryness.  Request a sample of their New! Huggies Little Snugglers Diapers and Huggies Natural Care Wipes and enter to win your dream registry via  Huggies Little Snugglers Registry Relief.

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